Make your home page

How to prevent pipes from freezing

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The winter storm headed toward Indiana this week will bring temperatures below zero, with wind chills reaching -25°.

Those temperatures can threaten to freeze water pipes in homes. The frozen water then expands, causing the pipes to burst.

Here are tips from Citizens Energy Group and the American Red Cross to keep your pipes from freezing, and how to respond if they do:

Preparing for the cold

  •  Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
  • Check for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to let warm air circulate around pipes.
  • Locate water shut-off valve to turn off water in case pipe freezes or bursts.
  • Leave thin stream of cold water running from faucet when temperature below freezing.
  • Keep consistent thermostat temperature in house, even when away from home- Keep garage doors closed.

Responding to frozen pipes

  • Shut off the water at the main shut off valve is located at the meter. If the frozen pipe is slowing the flow of water, when the ice dam is removed, water will quickly flow out of the pipe. Main shut off valves are located in varying places including: Garage, basement, utility closet, and main entry for waterline into the house.
  • Open the faucet of the frozen pipe to allow water to flow through and relieve the build-up of any pressure. Running water through the pipe will also help to melt any ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of frozen pipe. This can be done by wrapping a heating pad around the pipe, heating it with a blow dryer, wrapping the pipes in towels soaked in warm water or using a space heater to heat up the area where the pipes are located. Keep applying heat until the water pressure is restored and the water flows through freely. Never use an open flame like a propane torch.
  • If a pipe is bulging or you can’t find the location of the blockage, call a licensed plumber.

For more information, visit the Citizens Energy Group website or the American Red Cross website.